From FB: On the Bomb Threat in Ateneo, its effects and aftermath


A cowardly act

by Brian Paul Giron
Posted on 02/16/2014 1:52 PM  | Updated 02/16/2014 7:04 PM

To the person who made a bomb threat at the Ateneo de Manila University:

A part of me wonders if, maybe, congratulations might be in order. The three text messages you sent to those university employees probably accomplished exactly what you had hoped. And that’s really as much as can be said with any degree of certainty given that nobody seems to have any information about who you are. (READ: Cleared: Ateneo reopens after bomb threat)

Maybe, congratulations are in order for that secondary feat too; you may have really gotten away with it clean.

I wonder how you feel about the whole affair, though, especially a few days after because so much of the time we feel one way when do something, and then feel another way after. Sometimes, too, our understanding of what we have done becomes skewed, and twisted and misshapen especially if we have no one to confer with about the memory of it but ourselves.

Does any of it give you a sense of pride? That, for a few hours, you may have brought the mighty Ateneo down to its knees with no more than a few finger strokes on a phone? That school officials, and student leaders, and other souls had to read pieces of paper ordering an evacuation all because you threatened them with a bomb?

Does it make you proud that the cops tried and failed to catch you? Or that your plan went exactly as you had hoped? Or, maybe, pride is too pedestrian for one such as you. Was it purposeful then? A utilitarian act that was meant to achieve other goals?

I probably should say that I have little interest in conspiracy theories and only a passing interest in you but as I expunge these questions by putting them to words I felt it would be good for you to have an objective point of view about the matter while I’m at it.

First, I like to distinguish between bad people and people who do bad things. Because I don’t know anything about you I will afford you the benefit of the doubt and refer to your act rather than your person.

Your bomb threat was dishonest and cowardly.

And for as long as you justify it, or make excuses for yourself, or run away from this fact it becomes less and less about a cowardly act and more and more about a coward. You have to be careful here because we become the things we do until we disown and come to terms with these acts.

I promise you that there is no amount of anonymity, no distance in space or amount of time that will allow you to escape this fact. And for as long as you run you cannot escape what you are becoming because of it.

EVACUATED. Ateneo de Manila students and personnel evacuate the campus after a text message regarding a bomb threat spread on Wednesday, February 12. Photo from Colene ArcainaEVACUATED. Ateneo de Manila students and personnel evacuate the campus after a text message regarding a bomb threat spread on Wednesday, February 12. Photo from Colene Arcaina

A dishonest coward

Second, you run a high risk of becoming something else when compounded with the above-mentioned things. The next time you catch yourself talking about integrity, or honesty, or doing good remind yourself that you can no longer do so without becoming a hypocrite.

When you do come to this point and find yourself talking about principles and honor anyway then you have really screwed yourself.

A delusional, dishonest, cowardly hypocrite.

Third, these are very serious things that you got yourself into and I am almost sorry for you. I wonder if you ever thought that you’d be faced with the option of turning yourself in so you can redeem yourself or running away from this all your life. I understand how terrible the former must seem with all the consequences you’ll have to face but I promise you that a life of delusion and dishonesty can be much worse and you will become a coward and a hypocrite no matter how successful you get at forgetting that you are.

On side note, I also wanted to say that if this was just a prank then it is a very unimaginative one. By prank standards your act was dull, possessed no irony, caused a disproportionate amount of needless damage, and had absolutely no sense of progression or logic.

Lastly, I wanted to tell you that you may already be delusional about the results of your hoax.

It was not funny, it was not harmless, and yet you have done so much more damage to yourself than anyone or anything else.

You made little children cry and you made their mothers think that their kids could be in danger. You made good people feel afraid and disrupted their good work. You troubled folks who have enough trouble as it is and made kind and patient men and women feel anger.

But all day that Wednesday our leaders proved themselves above fear and made the necessary decisions to keep our school safe. And our community of administrators, and staff, and faculty, and students, and cats, and birds, and all other Ateneans stayed on their feet and looked after each other.

Ateneo was never on its knees.

We are fine but many of us worry about you instead. What you have allowed yourself to become and how much worse you will be while you run.

Good luck to you and remember that there is always hope for those who seek it. –


Brian Paul Giron is an instructor at the Department of History of Ateneo de Manila University.


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